October 7, 2014 : Lynn Williams

Stop kicking people when they’re down

Our politicians are denying people a decent life and we can’t let them get away with it

The rise of Victorian diseases and people unable to afford basic rights such as heat or food – this is reality for many thousands of people in Scotland, and for millions of individuals and families across the UK. And it’s a reality that frontline charities and third sector organisations face on a daily basis.

When children go to bed hungry and when people who haven’t eaten for a week come looking for crisis help, it’s time (yet again) to condemn policies which deliberately push people towards poverty. As Ian Bell so succinctly puts it, “One-quarter of the population is now denied a decent life as a matter of political choice.”

My personal favourite of late has got to be  the re-emergence of the pre-paid benefit card, where the nanny state decides what you can buy. Not content to continue to push people down, this government gives them a good kicking at the same time. Poverty is down to personal fault in the minds of these politicians, not down to a basket case economy where the rich get richer and the rest of us continue to pay the price.

Poverty is down to personal fault in the minds of these politicians, not down to a basket case economy where the rich get richer and the rest of us continue to pay the price

Cuts to already pitiful benefits are being applauded. Pushing people into destitution seems to be collateral damage in the war to bring down the public debt. But the irony is this: by stripping what little income people have, local economies suffer.

And there’s no escaping the tragedy of this situation. Consider the heart-breaking sense of shame and failure which families feel when even making ends meet becomes impossible. I cannot begin to imagine how this colours their sense of worth or expectations of life in general.

So Mr Osborne, Mr Duncan Smith and Mr Cameron – take a bow, job done. You have silenced and humiliated millions of people with your policies. You have helped create one of the most unequal nations in the developed world.

But be warned, the third sector is going to keep shouting about exactly what you’ve done. We won’t be silenced.

 

 

 

Important: Opinions expressed by bloggers are their own and don't represent those of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.

by Lynn Williams